Reactions to proposed EPA methane rule

Published: Aug. 30, 2019 at 10:15 PM CDT
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Environmental Groups are speaking out against the EPA's newly proposed rollback on methane and air quality regulations.

The EPA still has to go through the 60-day comment period, but groups are making their voices heard NOW on how they feel regarding the proposed rule changes for methane.

"I don't know what the urgency is in trying to de-regulate the agency. They federal agency has been having problems keeping up with regulations," said Tom Abe, Fort Berthhold POWER member.

The changes would alter the legal interpretation of pollutants under the Clean Air Act; as well as rescind Obama-era rules that regulate methane emission levels.

They go on to say that the 2016 rules did NOT determine that emissions from methane storage and transmission "may endanger public health or welfare."

Supporters of the rollbacks say it will allow the energy industry to grow.

In a statement, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said:

This will allow North Dakota to "better bolster investment in our energy industry" and will allow energy companies to build natural gas gathering systems more quickly; leading to a reduction in flaring.

The EPA says it would "remove unnecessary regulation duplication" and save the industry up to $123 million through 2025.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R, N.D., said "I like to say, North Dakota does not need Washington imposing its mediocrity on our excellence."

But critics argue this is another step in the wrong direction.

"The air has been more polluted not only by immense amount of truck traffic and soot emissions and diesel emissions from the industry as a whole, and the traffic that has evolved here and the dust, and the roads, there's been a reduction in the quality of the air. Even if we had good air quality before," Abe said.

Individuals or organizations can submit their comments once the EPA submits it to the Federal Register.

Gov. Doug Burgum says he's proud of how the state controls its own pollutants, and will continue to control methane emissions regardless of any rule changes at the federal level.